- Nigeria's printing materials including exercise books, textbooks are set to become more expensive as dollar scarcity pushes the cost of import
- Data from the National Bureau of Statistics reveals that in last four years over N1.2trn have been spent to import paper into the country
- There are three government-owned paper mills in the country but the mills are no longer operating even at half of their capacities
Nigerian students, parents and also businesses are set to feel more pinch on their dwindling disposable income over the rising cost of papers.
According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics data, the cost of importing paper into the country in one year rose by 74.36 per cent to N328.9 billion in 2021 from N188.6 billion in 2020.
In 2018 the total amount spent was N214.37 billion while in 2019 (N491.10bn). This means over N1.23 trillion was spent in the last four years.
The increased dependence on importation is coming at a time the country is experiencing its worst dollar scarcity and Naira value depreciation.
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Printing stakeholders speak
Stakeholders who spoke to Punch has called on the Federal government to take urgent step to support local manufacturers before it gets worst.
A former Chairperson of the Pulp, Paper and Packaging Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and Chief Executive Officer of FAE Limited, Mrs Layo Bakare-Okeowo, was quoted by the Punch as saying that the local paper industry was dying and in need of urgent government intervention.
“We need to have a functional paper industry in Nigeria. Egypt has 25 paper mills but how can Nigeria with a bigger population have no functional paper industry.”
Another stakeholder, Bakare-Okeowo called on government to provide the right enabling environment for the industry to operate.
“This is a sector that has been abandoned. Let us forget about what has happened to paper mills and focus on the crisis in the paper sector. We want the government to save this sector by providing the enabling environment.”
A peep from the glorious past of vibrant printing companies
Nigeria once had three paper mills in the country: the Nigeria Paper Mill Limited located in Jebba, Kwara State; the Nigeria Newsprint Manufacturing Company Limited, Oku-Iboku, Akwa Ibom State; and Nigerian National Paper Manufacturing Company Limited in Ogun State.
Sadly it is reported that most of the companies are no longer operating even at half of their capacities.
Nigeria depends on seven countries for paper
The paper industry is regarded as one of the oldest businesses in the world, that almost all industries depend on. From newspapers to education and also financial institutions.
According to a report from Trading economics, Nigeria's top trading partners for the importation of paper 2018-2020 are:
- China with a share of 24% (180 million US$)
- Indonesia with a share of 11.9% (87 million US$)
- India with a share of 11.9% (87 million US$)
- Germany with a share of 7.78% (57 million US$)
- USA with a share of 4.48% (33 million US$)
- South Africa with a share of 3.92% (28 million US$)
- Finland with a share of 3.78% (27 million US$)
- Brazil with a share of 3.64% (26 million US$)
- Turkey with a share of 2.51% (18.4 million US$)
- Egypt with a share of 2.11% (15.5 million US$)
ASUU strike: NANS delivers scorecard on states, sets example with Lagos
Governors of states across Nigeria had been urged to ensure they keep students in the school despite the ongoing strike action by ASUU.
The call was made by the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Monday, April 25.
According to NANS, the Lagos state governor has continued to show that students can have uninterrupted academic sessions irrespective of the decision of ASUU.